Keeping blood pressure under control is an important responsibility for many people. The American Heart Association projects that greater than 103 million individuals in the U.S. are dealing with high blood pressure.
Luckily, there are proven natural methods that work to manage and control high blood pressure. Some of the few simple changes you can make to your lifestyle – like keeping a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and lowering stress levels – have all been shown to lower blood pressure.
When maintaining a balanced diet, there are several important nutrient levels to keep an eye on to improve cardiovascular health. Nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids are some of the best supplements for treating high blood pressure. In this article, I’ll go over these nutritional supplements and how they work for lowering your blood pressure.
Lower Blood Pressure With Magnesium
Magnesium plays an important role when it comes to regulating blood pressure levels. Even though the National Institute for Health has not identified a widespread magnesium deficiency in the overall population, it does consider older adults to be at a higher risk. Poor magnesium absorption associated with aging is a major cause for this increased risk. Due to this, additional research has tried to link specific ties between cardiovascular health and magnesium.
For instance, one published research study on hypertension analyzed at clinical trial results that involved supplementation with magnesium. Basically, researchers observed substantial results in individuals who consumed approximately 350 mg of magnesium daily. These test subjects substantially lowered systolic blood pressure by 2.00 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.78 mm Hg.
One simple way to naturally boost magnesium levels is through dietary changes. Some of the best known foods that are great sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and milk. Taking a high-quality multivitamin is also an excellent way to ensure that your body is getting enough daily magnesium. Besides eating a well-balanced diet, a good multivitamin or potassium supplement should provide around 200 mg – 600 mg of magnesium per daily serving, depending on how much magnesium you’re already getting and how deficient you may be. According to the NIH, the total daily recommended potassium intake is 4,700 mg per day.
Maintain Health Sodium Levels With Potassium
How Does Potassium Work With Salt?
Studies have shown that a diet that’s high in salt or sodium causes blood pressure to become elevated. By decreasing the amount of sodium in your diet, you’ll be taking a major step to lowering blood pressure. According to the AHA, the DASH diet is a great method to naturally lower your blood pressure through food. A major benefit of the DASH diet is to improve the balance of sodium and potassium in the body.
Why Sodium and Potassium Balance Is Important
Potassium and sodium naturally work together to create energy for the body so that nerve signals function properly. Even more, when experiencing low potassium, the body attempts to stockpile it, which also results in retaining sodium as well. Sodium goes with water and the result is that the body retains more water and raises blood pressure.
So if this is true, can increasing potassium levels help to decrease blood pressure?
Balancing Sodium and Potassium Levels
To find out, a research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine reviewed over 100,000 individuals. The findings indicated an association between the consumption of sodium and potassium with blood pressure. The interesting results showed a direct link between nutrient levels associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Not surprisingly, greater sodium levels led to elevated blood pressure. But, for all test subjects, increased potassium levels resulted in lower blood pressure.
By itself, only increasing potassium intake is just one step to reducing blood pressure. Individuals who incorporate this increase with reduced sodium intake have a greater likelihood to further lower blood pressure. Bottom line, maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet is the easiest and most effective way to naturally decrease blood pressure.
Supplements can also provide a good way for maintaining healthy potassium levels, even on days when potassium-rich foods aren’t readily available. A good multivitamin should provide between 200 mg and 500 mg of potassium in a daily serving. According to the NIH, the total daily recommended potassium intake is 4,700 mg per day.
Decreasing High Blood Pressure With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
EPA and DHA Help Reduce Blood Pressure
EPA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids that are considered healthy fats, and are found in fish (like salmon and mackerel) and also in grass fed animals. Omega-3’s have undergone some of the most numerous amounts of research of any supplements, with tens of thousands of studies researching it’s benefits. Among these, quite a few studies concerning blood pressure and omega-3’s have been conducted with the intention of uncovering any connections. As a matter of fact, so much testing has been done that one research team was able to analyze the results of 70 studies that already been completed on the subject.
By studying individuals who consumed either fish oil or omega-3-rich foods, researchers measured blood pressure on a regular basis while simultaneously controlling for EPA and DHA intake. The study showed that EPA and DHA of 2 grams or more daily could decrease both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure, with the most powerful results seen in hypertensive subjects who were not on high blood pressure medicine. Interestingly, lower doses, between 1 and 2 grams per day, might decrease systolic BP, but not diastolic BP.
How Omega-3’s Boost Exercise Performance
EPA and DHA intake, whether from omega-3-rich foods or omega-3 supplements, is also very beneficial for exercise. Besides keeping a balanced diet, exercise is major tool for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. For example, one study measured the benefits of omega-3 supplementation and exercise performance in 44 participants. Surprisingly, participants who took omega-3 supplements had improved muscle mass of the thighs, improved handgrip strength and greater isokinetic power compared to subjects not taking omega-3 supplements. Also, based upon the study’s evidence, fish oil slows the typical decrease in muscle mass in seniors and researchers concluded that it should be used as a therapeutic method for preventing sarcopenia and maintaining independent fitness in seniors.
Fish oil that’s high in omega-3’s is a great aid for improving cardiovascular function and good health in general. The AHA suggests getting at least 2000 mg of omega-3 per week from consuming fatty fish. And for those who find it difficult to eat this amount on a weekly basis, consider taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement that contains at least 1200 mg of EPA and DHA per daily serving.
Of course, your doctor knows your health profile better than anyone, so it’s necessary to speak with him or her if you’re experiencing higher than normal levels of stress.